09 Nov

Focus on Hunger Awareness, Loyola University – Nov. 10, 2016

Loyola’s Chicago campus has been organizing a Hunger Awareness Week for 40 years (or so they tell me) and I’m thrilled to be talking with them this week about Hunger in America — and processing the results of the election.

Hunger in America lecture
Loyola University
Damen MPR
Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.


07 Nov

National Farm Worker Law Conference, Keynote – Nov. 9, 2016

I’m honored to be spending the day after the election with lawyers and advocates waging a critical labor battles: Protecting farm workers.

National Farm Worker Law Conference

Indianapolis, IN
Nov. 9, 2016

Farmworkers in the News: Journalists Covering the Lives and Labor Conditions of Farmworkers

14 Oct

Special Treat: Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium Lecture, Oct. 14, 2016

University of Mississippi
Oxford, MS
Oct. 14, 2016

It’s a huge honor and delight to be giving a commissioned lecture at the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium today:

When Corn Went Pop
Corn is elemental, the backbone grain of the American diet; that omnipresence begs questions, My assignment: to channel industrial corn products, from Jiffy to Maseca.

02 Oct

Flint area talks: Oct. 4-5, 2016

Quick heads up for anyone in the Flint area: I’m coming to talk in your neighborhood!

Oct. 4, 2016  (Tuesday)
5:45 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.

Grand Blanc-McFarlen Public Library


I’m especially honored to kick off the Sullenger Dialogues at U-M Flint, the nearest university to where I grew up. It’s also an honor to be part of the rich lecture tradition being established on that campus which serves many of the region’s working class students.

Critical Issues Forum, U-M Flint
October 5, 2016
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.


Update: Nice campus PR write up here.

14 Sep

Common Experience: Highpoint University, Sept. 15-16, 2016

I’m thrilled to share that Highpoint University has chosen The American Way of Eating for its freshman Common Experience Program—and I’ll be spending a couple days on campus this week to talk about the book with students.

Things kick off on Thursday, when I’ll be speaking to the President’s Seminar for first year students, continue with lunch, speak with sociology and anthropology students in the afternoon—and conclude with a Friday talk to a journalism class.


13 Sep

“Southern Hunger” Lecture, Sept. 13, 2016

“Southern Hunger”

Sept. 13, 2015

4:30-6:00 p.m.

Stone Center, Hitchcock Room

The American South is often celebrated for its rich food heritage and its powerful influence on American cuisine, but the region’s culture and politics are also linked to the darker side of food. In this lecture, will discuss how modern American food issues like hunger, wages, and labor are deeply tied to the history of the South.

Sponsors: Center for the Study of the American South Hutchins Lecture Series and Food For All, UNC Chapel Hill

28 Jul

Handmade flour torillas, NM edition


For years I have pined for New Mexican flour tortillas, thick bready discs substantial enough to scoop up carne adovada and green chile chicken stew. For years, there was nothing similar in grocery stores outside of NM. Then, there were better thin flour tortillas. And now, a few places do sell thicker versions, but they pale in comparison to fresh.

So I finally got myself some lessons, at the lovely kitchen of Susan McCreight Lindeborg, in Las Vegas, New Mexico. She persuaded Janet Stein Romero, an artist friend in El Ancon who married a New Mexican man (artist Nicasio Romero) and learned to make tortillas from his mother. …more…

20 Mar

BONUS: Updated Double-Fried Chicken, Sweet-Hot Peanut Sauce and Herbed Fritters

I had so much fun playing with Frida Kahlo’s recipe for Double-Fried Chicken and Nut Sauce for Yahoo Food that I couldn’t help tweak it to my liking. Here’s what I came up with:


Frida Kahlo’s Double-Fried Chicken

Sweet and Spicy Peanut sauce

Herbed Fritters

Adapted from Frida’s Fiestas

Servings: 8

This is not a quick weeknight meal. There are three major steps: Making the sauce, frying the chicken the first time, and then frying it the second. Unless you relish long and arduous cooking, I say break it up: Make the sauce in advance, as much as a day or two. Round one of frying can be done ahead of time if you like, though you may sacrifice some crispness. As you near the second frying time, warm the sauce on the stove, but keep in mind that the white peanut sauce will darken from snowy white to beige if you heat it for very long. …more…

22 Nov

BONUS: How Whole Foods really prices its food

It’s easy to gloss over the details in all the hubbub over the feature I just published with Slate and the Food and Environment Reporting Network, “Can Whole Foods Really Chance the Way Poor People Eat?” But I would encourage anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of food reporting to pay attention to the data set we amassed for the piece.

What’s the big deal with the data?

Comparing food prices between stores is phenomenally difficult to do well. Brand names, sale prices, different sized packaging…all of it gets very confusing, very quickly. The USDA does track food prices, but only at the bulk level—for a pound of green peas, for example. But most of us don’t buy just a pound of shelled green peas. We buy Green Giant, or we buy Cascadian Farmr, or we buy White Rose, with all the presumed differences between them affecting price. There simply isn’t anywhere that researchers can go, let alone consumers, to see a coherent comparison with name brands. Until now. …more…

03 Nov

What I learned in the garlic fields

FERN Talks & Eats • Nov. 3, 2014

Brooklyn, NY

I was honored to take part in a live storytelling event hosted by the wonderful Food and Environment Reporting Network. Below is the text of the story I performed.

Rosalinda is fourteen when I meet her. She has brown skin and black hair and eyes so pretty that even when she wears bandanas over her face in the field, you can tell she is beautiful.

Inez is fourteen, too, with the same brown skin and black hair that Rosalinda has, but her eyes aren’t as big, her smile not as wide.

They both change my life forever. …more…